• Maximum height of extreme waves up dramatically in Pacific Northwest

    A new assessment concludes that the highest waves in a “100-year event” along the Pacific Northwest’s coast may be as much as 46 feet, up from estimates of only 33 feet that were made as recently as 1996, and a 40 percent increase; the new findings raise special concerns for flooding, coastal erosion, and structural damage; “The Pacific Northwest has one of the strongest wave climates in the world, and the data clearly show that it’s getting even bigger,” says one of scientists involved

  • Large dams linked to more extreme weather patterns

    A new study looked at the magnitude of the biggest storms near 633 of the world’s largest dams before and after construction; they found that in many places the level of precipitation in the most extreme rainfall events grew by an average of 4 percent per year after a dam was built, with the relationship especially strong in semi-arid regions

  • Scientists seek homes in the Seattle area in which to install quake monitors

    Scientists want to install seismic monitors in homes in the Seattle area to measure ground-shaking; with detailed information on the way the ground shakes in a particular spot, it may be possible to design buildings tailored to their exact locations; the instruments also will help construct “shake-maps” to pinpoint areas of heaviest damage after major earthquakes

  • Rise in sea levels forces drastic changes on Florida

    If sea levels rise by only two feet, Florida stands to lose almost 10 percent of its land area and the homes of 1.5 million people; the zone which is vulnerable to 27-inch rise in sea level includes residential real estate worth $130 billion, half of Florida’s beaches, two nuclear reactors, three prisons, 37 nursing homes, and much more; the Florida government is considering changes to building codes and other precautionary measures.

  • Rise in sea levels threatens California ports, infrastructure

    Scientists expect ocean levels to rise by at least 16 inches over the next 40 years, causing flooding and endangering facilities throughout the state of California; the California Climate Change Center has estimated that nearly half a million people, thousands of miles of roads and railways, and major ports, airports, power plants, and wastewater treatment plants are at risk; in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana region, sea level rise could expose $96.5 billion of infrastructure to damage.

  • Environmental sensor network trials in Japan

    DoCoMo will launch the trial operation of a network of environmental sensors on 21 December that measure pollen, carbon dioxide (CO2), ultraviolet (UV) sunlight, and other atmospheric conditions

  • Climate change threatens Canada North's infrastructure

    Climate change is felt more acutely in the arctic, and a Canadian government’s report says that winter roads melting earlier in the spring could force communities to airlift supplies, while increased snowfall and changing ice conditions can add stress to buildings as well as energy and communications infrastructure

  • Climate change will lead to more wars and deaths in Africa

    Researchers predict that spikes in temperature will lead to a 54 percent rise in the incidence of civil conflict in Africa by 2030, resulting in an extra 393,000 combat deaths;

  • Dutch build sand dunes to fight rising seas

    More than eighteen million cubic meters of sand are dredged from the bottom of the ocean and brought back to land to form new dunes; the new dunes — each 30 to 60 meters wide, and rising up to 10 meters above sea level — are built along a 20-kilometer stretch of the shore

  • Los Alamos lab's toxic waste seeps toward New Mexico's water sources

    Radioactive debris has been found in canyons that drain into the Rio Grande, but officials at the Los Alamos National Laboratory say there is no health risk; to comply with New Mexico’s clean up orders, the lab has installed about 300 monitoring wells and gauges, contaminated soil is being removed from canyon bottoms, wetlands are being planted, and small dams built to arrest the flow of polluted storm water

  • U.S. Congress holds hearings on geoengineering

    Geoengineering — the effort to design systems which would change the world’s climate — was once a fringe phenomenon; it has been moving into the mainstream, though, as more and more scientists are growing increasingly concerned that, even if we commit to cutting emissions drastically, we have already waited too long, and that by the time we actually reduce emissions, enough greenhouse gases will have accumulated to cause serious climate disasters

  • Using technology to prepare vulnerable communities for earthquakes

    Satellite photographs and remotely measured surface heights from NASA will be used for assessing the vulnerability of natural slopes to earthquake-induced landslides; a team of U.K. scientists will also build up a database of slopes that failed in earthquakes; the information collected will include local geology, vegetation, slope angle, distance from the fault, and the amount of ground shaking

  • African desert rift confirmed as new ocean is forming

    Geologists show that seafloor dynamics are at work in splitting African continent; scientists from several countries have confirmed that the volcanic processes at work beneath the Ethiopian rift are nearly identical to those at the bottom of the world’s oceans, and the rift is indeed likely the beginning of a new sea

  • Nuclear energy central to climate debate

    There are 104 power reactors in 31 states, providing one-fifth of the U.S. electricity; they are also producing 70 percent of essentially carbon-free power and are devoid of greenhouse gas emissions; a study by the industry-supported Electric Power Research Institute says 45 new reactors are needed by 2030; the Energy Information Administration puts the number at 70; an analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assumes 180 new reactors by 2050 for an 80 percent decline in greenhouse gas emissions

  • Louisiana levee to use stabilizing fabric

    The 1,600-foot earthen levee, which runs south from the Old Estelle Pump Station, has failed twice, once in the early 1990s and again in 2007 when two sections totaling 600 feet long slumped badly; Army Corps of Engineers will use geotextile fabric to stabilize known trouble spots before raising the levee from 10 feet to 14.5 feet